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"Never let the Calvin spark die. It is a wonderful school and you will be proud 50 years hence."—Class of '52 


Building a National Reputation

Watching the girders and beams go up across the Beltline, the college might have taken a year to pause, to wait for the Prince Center to be finished before hosting more large conferences. Instead, it was almost as if the construction catalyzed energy and enthusiasm for the planning and hosting of three significant learning events held on campus during the 2001-2002 academic year.

Christian Scholarship—For What? was planned as part of the celebration of Calvin's 125th anniversary. From September 27th-29th, 474 scholars from a wide range of disciplines and representing Christian traditions from Catholic to Pentecostal gathered to reflect together on the growth, the role and the future of Christian perspectives on academia. Internationally recognized Christian scholars spoke to the gathered assembly, including Calvin graduate Dr. Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Seminary, and Sir John Polkinghorne, particle physicist, Anglican priest, and advisor on science policy to the British government.

For its 15th Symposium on Worship and the Arts the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship brought together 1,200 worship leaders and planners, pastors, artists, dramatists and musicians from many church traditions for two days in January to learn from, worship with and enjoy each other. Worship Institute director Dr. John Witvliet described the aim of the symposium: "We aim to have the conference offer the best fruits of a committed Christian liberal arts college: inspiriting worship, incisive lectures, and thoughtful discussion—all with a remarkably diverse group of people from all over North America."

"When we began this thing in 1990, we couldn't have imagined this," says Calvin English professor Dale Brown. "This" is the bi-annual Festival of Faith and Writing held April 17th-19th, which again this year drew 1,700 guests to campus to "celebrate words." The festival has become a regional, if not a national event, unique for bridging the purely literary and the strictly religious writing worlds. Writers invited to speak at the conference all show a respect for and an understanding of a faith tradition—even if they've left it—faith traditions ranging from Orthodox Judaism to Pentecostal Christianity. "We're committed to writers who create a crucial conversation, a three-day period of reflection about words, a look at the vocation of words and the vocation of faith," says Brown. Some of those writers featured at this year's festival were the widely-read Oscar Hijuelos, Kaye Gibbons, Jan Karon, Ernest Gaines and Kathleen Norris.

The east campus, with its Prince Conference Center, can only serve to make Calvin an even more welcome home to learning events and celebrations like these in the future.


Calvin Symposium on Worship and the Arts
Festival of Faith and Writing
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